Alison Weir is renowned for her historical fiction and her historical works. One of the problems I have when perusing her works is keeping the players straight. Who was related to whom? Who were the children (legitimate and illegitimate) of kings and lords? In this work, Weir provides us with a resource that can be consulted while reading works on Britain's rulers over time--and keeps the players a little straighter!
Weir notes at the outset (Page 3): "This handbook is about the monarchy, and it begins with the first ruler who properly may be accorded the title of monarch, Egbert of Wessex." For each ruler, one to three or so pages suffices. We learn details of the family (mother and father), siblings, wife/husband/lover, children (legitimate and not so), and death details. The work begins, unsurprisingly, with Egbert. Other early rulers--Alfred (born in 846-849), Canute (born 995), Harold II (overthrown by the Normans, ending the Saxon reign), William the Conqueror (born in 1008 and beginning the Norman Dynasty). The Norman dynasty included Henry I.
Then he Plantagenet line, beginning with Henry II in 1154. The line ended with Richard III, in the battle at Bosworth in 1485. Among the monarchs in this line--Richard I (the Lion heart), Edward I (Longshanks), Edward III (and note John of Gaunt, one of his sons, and his role in the line of monarchs), Richard II, Edward IV. Then, after this lineage came the Tudors, beginning with Henry VII and ending with Elizabeth I. After that? The book runs through the different families--Stuarts, House of Hanover, House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha morphed into Windsor, with Elizabeth II being the latest monarch.
All in all, a useful resource, helping to keep the players straight in English/British history.